Seven Powerful Ways to Use Tech to Overcome Recruiting Bias

Sometimes bias creeps into hiring processes without anyone even realizing it. When you favor a white male candidate over a non-white or female candidate, is it really because he or she is the best person for the job—or is there a subconscious bias at work?

HR technology tools are available to help recruiters weed out bias. But, do these recruiting tools really work? The answer is a qualified yes—if the companies that use them are serious about achieving diversity. Here are seven ways you can use tech to overcome recruiting bias.

  1. Eliminate subconscious bias. Organizations that want to overcome bias might find it inadvertently slipping into their recruitment processes. In a recent TED talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied cites the example of the Boston Symphony using blind auditions in the 1950s to boost the number of women in the orchestra. Even with blind auditions, gender bias still occurred based on the sound of the women’s heels as they entered the room. It was only after musicians were asked to remove their shoes that women’s representation in the orchestra climbed to a non-gender-biased percentage of about 50 percent.

At their best, tech tools eliminate bias by evaluating raw talent—the ability to play music, to write software code, to do math-related tasks—without letting subconscious prejudices enter the picture.

  1. Use testing to boost objectivity. While managers rank unstructured interviews as the best way to evaluate candidates, an article in Harvard Business Review points out that these face-to-face interactions are far less reliable than measurable assessment tools like mental ability tests and aptitude tests. Rather than trying to replicate ourselves in our hiring practices (a common pitfall that stymies diversity), tech boosts objectivity with dispassionate and non-personality-driven metrics.
  2. Write better job descriptions. Be aware that unintentional bias can seep into descriptions for job openings. Does the language you use have inadvertent masculine or feminine connotations, perhaps reflecting an expectation about which gender should fill the job? For instance, words like “ninja” or “rock star” might sound masculine, while words like “support” or “pleasant” might register as feminine.

Your HR team can turn to anti-bias tools like Textio and Gender Decoder to find more gender-neutral language when listing job openings.

  1. Avoid bias in resume perusal. Many HR veterans likely recall an eye-opening field experiment by the University of Chicago and M.I.T., in which fictitious resumes sent in response to job openings received a 50 percent higher callback rate for interviews if the names were “white-sounding” (Emily and Greg) versus ethnic-sounding (Lakisha and Jamal).

With the objective of avoiding such bias, the tech company GapJumpers uses a “blind audition” approach that evaluates applicants by skills and work performance rather than by names and keywords on resumes. Results have been encouraging. Instead of just one-fifth of minority and female applicants making it to first-round interviews, GapJumpers reports that its approach boosts that rate to 60 percent.

  1. Prioritize ability over cultural fit. Many recruiters talk about the importance of hiring people who are a good “cultural fit” for their companies, but can this inadvertently lead to homogenous organizations where diversity and competency are secondary considerations? There are ways to bring qualified minority and female job candidates to the attention of potential employers even in white, male-dominated industries.

Quartz Media LLC cites the example of CodeFights, whose gamified coding platform helps tech companies find talented programmers based on pure talent. Gender and ethnic bias don’t enter the picture—and neither does an arbitrary assessment of “cultural fit,” which often depends upon how the interviewer judges the job applicant’s personality as meshing with his own.

  1. Don’t stereotype by gender. Of course, everyone wants the best candidate for a job, but the sad reality is that misconceptions about innate gender abilities can cloud a manager’s judgment. Such bias came to light in a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, wherein managers chose male candidates over female candidates by a two-to-one margin for a job that required simple mathematical skills. Managers (both men and women) more frequently chose the male candidate, even when testing revealed the female candidate to have equivalent or better skills.

Using results of the test alone would have eradicated the gender bias, and the company would have benefited by hiring the better employee.

  1. Assess your diversity efforts. Using HR analytics allows you to determine whether your recruitment efforts are as diverse as they should be. The online magazine Rework cites the value of using big data for HR—including predictive analytics, talent analytics, HR analytics, and human capital analytics—as a means for reducing discrimination and bias. Analysis of the raw data provides insights into the effectiveness of current recruitment efforts and allows companies to make adjustments if practices to improve diversity are falling short.

Trends toward workplace diversity will ultimately improve corporate productivity. According to research by McKinsey & Company, financial performance is significantly better for those businesses that have achieved greater racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. So, recruiting for diversity makes sense—and using the tips I’ve mentioned with recruiting tech to eradicate subconscious bias is an excellent way to help achieve it.

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#TChat Preview: How Social Recruiting Makes the Talent Business Case

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, December 2, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

On November 18, we talked about how wellness programs improve employee performance, and on December 2 we’re going to discuss how social recruiting makes the talent business case.

Social recruiting is no longer a trend. It’s the new norm. According to new Dice research, 9 out of 10 recruiters are using social media in talent acquisition.

In fact, the same research shows that social media has improved or is greatly improving tech recruiting results—including quality of candidates, referrals and time-to-hire.

Social has become the tool for promoting jobs, building brands, sourcing candidates, creating relationships, and vetting applicants. Recruiters know this is the future, and they’re investing their time and money accordingly to make the talent business case.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET

#TChat Events: How Social Recruiting Makes the Talent Business Case

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how social recruiting makes the talent business case with this week’s guests: Stacy Zapar, Founder of Tenfold, and recruiting strategist, trainer & advisor; and Allison Kruse, Senior Manager of Social Media and Talent Acquisition at Kforce.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, December 2 — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT
Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How prevalent is social recruiting today versus five years ago? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What are the best ways to initially reach out to candidates on social sites? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How has social recruiting improved tech recruiting and recruiting overall? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

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Does Your Data Contribute to Sustainable Business Growth?

No matter your business, it all comes down to the bottom line. How do you achieve sustainable business growth?  In the recruiting world, this often means making high impact decisions on data. Data isn’t sexy, but it’s a reality of every business move.  Marketers live in the world of data, always trying to test and refine what’s working. Recruiters are learning to take a page from their marketing coworkers. Recruiting firms need to focus on increasing their volume of sales and profitability to achieve sustainable business growth. What does this mean? It means attracting more clients, more candidates, and sourcing them at a lower cost.

Big Data and Sustainable Growth

The recruiting industry has changed a lot in the past 20 years. And in the last 5 years, it feels like it’s moved at warp speed.  What has emerged is a new form of recruiting, feedback, and monitoring that is driving business. As budgets shrink and demand raises, the following can be helpful to achieve sustainable growth:

Video Interviews. Video interviews are a low cost effective solution that saves both time and money. In the span of time that a recruiter can make a telephone screen, that same recruiter can view 10 on demand recordable video interviews. Many recruiters prefer to choose a set list of questions for consistency and send them to candidates. The onus is on the candidates to then record their responses to these questions and send the video interview to the recruiter. Within this platform, recruiters can share candidate responses, rank candidates and make informed decisions on how to proceed. Advanced reporting tools help inform recruiters how many interviews they’re conducting, their cost per candidate, and more. These tools can help recruiting firms recruit smarter on a tight budget.

Building Talent Pools. Having a bank of resumes is not enough to be able to lower your recruiting costs. Recruiters should be turning these resumes into talent pools. These talent pools should be searchable within narrow search terms, which why many recruiting firms turn to ATS systems. These systems allow recruiters to spend less money on advertising job postings and less time searching for candidates. It’s a cliche that employers say they’ll keep a candidate’s resume on file for future use. But now, recruiters can truly keep all of those resumes and search them at lightening quick speed. The data contained in all of these resumes, references, and attachments can help recruiters source talent at a lower cost, which contributes to sustainable growth over time.

Social Data Tools. Increasingly, social data tools will be able to predict which passive candidates are a good fit for organizations.  And most importantly, they’re beginning to predict when a candidate may be ready to make a move. This kind of data will be able to help recruiting firms identify candidates faster and reduce time to hire.

Data is becoming the new buzz word in recruiting. It’s clear that the data that various technologies are offering can help recruiting firms to identify talent faster and engage with them. Overall, a small investment up front is going to save recruiting firms both time and money. And this is where data is going to contribute to sustainable growth.  If you’re not yet using data to adjust your hiring process, you could be missing out. Gain the insight your recruiting firm needs.

Photo credit: Bigstock

Use SEO to Enhance Your Recruiting Process

This month, over 226 million people will search Google for job postings.  If your job postings aren’t displaying on the first page, you could be missing out on candidates.  So how does a recruiter get their job postings featured on the first page of Google? Contrary to that salesman’s pitch, they don’t hold spots open for anyone.  The best way to feature your job postings prominently is with SEO.  SEO, or search engine optimization, is increasingly being adopted by savvy recruiters.  Used during the recruiting process, it can be a secret weapon.  SEO can translate to more visibility for your open positions and more candidates. If you’re not flush with resumes, SEO can be your game changer.

How to Effectively Use SEO in Your Recruiting Process

SEO may be a new tool to many recruiters, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating.  SEO can become second nature in no time.  So how does a recruiter insert SEO into the recruiting process? Try the following methods:

  • Film a Job Posting Video.  Search engines are increasingly showing more visuals in the top few spots of search results.  If you want to be among those in the top, you should film a video.  Video currently accounts for 62% of all internet searches.  Whether people are searching for information about a company, job postings, or entertaining cat videos, video represents the most widely searched and shared media today. Video job postings are wonderful tools in the recruiting process because they are also highly shareable. Candidates can view the video, assess whether the position sounds like something they’d like, and share it with their friends.  This boosts links to your job position and attracts candidates.  Your recruiting process could be improved dramatically by filming a video of open job positions.
  • Write Keyword Driven Job Postings.  All SEO is driven by keywords.  Keywords inform a search engine what your post is about.  When there is a great mixture of organic keywords in your job posting, it tells search engines that your posting is relevant and important to job seekers. The key is to not overstuff your keywords in a posting.  You don’t want every other word to sound like spam.  Focus on creating a well written job posting and then evaluate whether you’ve included a healthy mix of keywords.  For example, if you’re hiring for a sales director in New York, you’ll want to feature these keywords within your text.  If your job position only mentions them once within a block of 400 words, you communicate less relevance to search engines.  Top performing job postings feature keywords peppered throughout their text.
  • Share Socially. SEO’s two main components are links and keywords.  Social media is a great place to combine both efforts and attract more candidates.  Try tweeting out a link to your video job posting with a hashtag of your keywords.  These stand out in users’ news feeds and are hard to ignore. I see video job postings in my Twitter feed all the time and am always tempted to click on them.  The more your followers share your post, the more you’re visible to networks of potential candidates.  This can be a game changer in your recruiting process!

The key to being effective at SEO is to keep it simple.  As a recruiter, your primary focus is to attract and hire talent, not build back links to job postings all day. Using these three SEO tools alone you can increase visibility of your job postings today.  Try it out and see how many new candidates you can attract!

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Prevent Bad Hires with Your Hiring Process

There’s nothing worse than investing time and energy into hiring someone and finding out you’ve made a mistake. Recruiters fear that after weeks of pouring through resumes and talking to candidates, they’ll select the wrong one. A bad hire can be a drain on the organization from multiple angles. It costs money to hire and train someone who ultimately won’t work out. And it can drag down the morale when someone new is introduced and then exited. It can cause a sense of fear and panic to reverberate throughout the organization. But what if you can prevent bad hires upfront? What if you can pick apart your hiring process to prevent bad hires? Let’s examine the steps within the hiring process that can be improved to prevent a bad hire.


Enhance Your Hiring Process to Prevent Bad Hires

Every company’s hiring process is different.  But some companies have their hiring process down to a science.  They run like well oiled machines and seem to attract the best candidates.  What are they doing differently in order to attract better candidates and prevent bad hires?  According to Talent Board’s 2014 Candidate Experience Report , top companies are creating better candidate experiences with transparency and support.  These top companies are operating in tune with what candidates desire.

We’re in an age where information is plentiful.  We are literally bombarded with messaging at all angles.  To find out anything, we can hop on our smart phones and surf the information super highway for answers.  But some companies are still stuck in the past.  They don’t offer information up front to draw top candidates.  This is where you can enhance your hiring process.  Your organization can move beyond simply offering a career page to branding it to attract top talent.  This is where the company can really shine: you can offer insights into teams, company culture, and branded videos to appeal to the top candidates.  Great companies often take it a step further and offer immersive interviews via video interview software.  This allows candidates to get the full experience of what joining this company would be like.  Often, these kind of information rich hiring processes are able to prevent bad hires.

Review Expectations Up Front

Sometimes, a bad hire is not the result of the hiring process, but really unrealistic expectations.  We’ve all heard stories where candidates were hired on for a role like marketing, but the hiring manager’s uncommunicated expectation was that this hire would produce their yearly salary in sales in their first month.  These kinds of expectations should be examined up front by both the hiring manager and the recruiting or HR department.  Sometimes, if expectations are not realistic or in alignment with the position, it can produce a bad fit.  In these cases, the new employee could be confused about how they fit into your organization.  A careful review of these expectations can help prevent hiring someone that will ultimately be classified as a bad hire.

Similarly, job descriptions should be carefully reviewed prior to posting.  Does an hourly cashier position truly require a bachelor’s degree?  Or will this kind of requirement produce a smaller talent pool that is more likely to leave when another opportunity comes along?  These kinds of questions are crucial to the hiring process.  By addressing these concerns prior to posting, your team can work together to prevent bad hires.

Realign and Recommit to Quality Hires

Once a recruiting strategy is in place, it’s up to the recruiting team to pursue quality candidates.  By auditing these critical steps in the process, an organization can work towards preventing a bad hire.  But it’s not a fool proof system.  Sometimes, recruiters have an off day.  And sometimes, candidates lie convincingly enough to get hired.  With these steps in place, these kinds of mistakes should be minimized and produce quality hires over time.

Recruiting Trends & Effect on Job Seekers

Today’s post is by Ty Abernethy — founder and CEO of ZuzuHire, a multimedia candidate screening tool incorporating video, voice, essay and multiple-choice questions. He has a background in executive recruiting, and currently manages the finance/accounting recruiting division of Chase Professionals.

The hiring process is changing–not only for companies and recruiters, but also for candidates. With companies facing challenges like budget cuts and understaffed recruiting departments, they are looking at new tools to simplify the hiring process. Things are changing quickly, and it’s hard to keep up. But it’s also difficult to tell which tools and innovations will stick once the dust has settled. Here’s a breakdown of some of the exciting new technologies that will (most likely) stick and how candidates should adapt to keep up.

Ding, Dong the Job Boards Are Dead (well sort of…)

Once upon a time, all hiring strategies went like this: 1) post an ad to a major job board, 2) review resumes, 3) interview, 4) and hire. But things are changin’. Now, with the advent of social media, companies and recruiters have so many more recruiting gadgets in their tool kit. And with aggregate job sites like Indeed and SimplyHired, there is no longer a need for employers to post with the major job boards. Companies can use the smaller, lesser known (and cheaper) boards and get great results. And LinkedIn has now become the largest “resume” database in the world. Soon companies and recruiters will use LinkedIn profiles interchangeably with resumes. And before too long, companies will start allowing applicants to apply to their job postings via the “Connect with LinkedIn” plug-in instead of having to upload a resume. For candidates, this means they must have a professional, updated, and detailed profile.

Video Is Not Just For Pop Stars!

Video is fast becoming a major component to the hiring process, both as a marketing tool and as a candidate screening and interviewing tool. Companies are realizing that the more they differentiate their jobs from their competitors’, the easier it is for them to attract exceptional candidates. And video is a great way for a job seeker to get to know a company better. YouTube and Facebook videos help to give a company a face and a personality and make candidates more excited about the organization. Additionally, video offers a great time saving solution for companies during the interviewing process. Companies can interview candidates in a fraction of the time by incorporating video, and save on travel costs as well. Very soon it will be commonplace for companies to screen and interview candidates via video before bringing candidates in-house to interview. Job seekers need to purchase a webcam so they can keep up!

Mobile! (It’s not just a town in Alabama!)

Mobile recruiting will be huge in the future. Currently, companies looking for a competitive edge have started to incorporate mobile apps and text messaging into their recruiting campaigns. New technology allows recruiters to send out a job via an app and candidates can “check in” if they are available. Recruiters see not only that the candidate is available, but where he/she is geographically located. Then recruiters can reach out to candidates that are in the closest proximity to the job. Crazy, right! Additionally, recruiters now have the capabilities to mass text message candidates with job specs. Instead of having to wait for a candidate to check his/her email, recruiters send the message directly to the one device candidates never put down—their cell phones! Powerful stuff, especially for recruiters sourcing for time-sensitive temp jobs. Job seekers should update to smart phones to keep up.

How Job Seekers Should Adapt

Job seekers that adapt the fastest will see the best results. Being prepared for these changes really helps a job seeker stand out from the crowd. First off, it’s imperative for candidates to leverage their social media communities. Great sites like StartWire make it extremely easy to keep your networks updated on your job search and to ask for assistance and support along the way. It is imperative to find and apply to jobs within the first 24 hours that they are posted. Candidates should set up Indeed and Bing job alerts for target job titles in their geographic location. Signing up for social media job search tools like BraveNewTalent can also be quite effective for finding companies that are hiring. Job seekers should purchase a webcam and become comfortable communicating and interviewing online. If job seekers can keep up, they will stand out among the crowd.

The times are a changin’, and if you adapt you will thrive. What are you doing to update you recruiting or job search strategy?

IMAGE VIA  Bramus!